May 2011

Q&A: On Texas, favorite memories & “Macho Man”

Helloooo, Texas. I love the Las Colinas Hotel that we stay at when we are down here; it has a great spa and nice golf course. That’s the good part. On the other side, we have a tough road trip ahead of us with Texas, Toronto and Boston, but it’s the American League and it’s always tough. I think we have won something like 4 straight series and it feels good when the team is playing better. There is a lot less panic when the you are winning. So we are here in Texas looking to start this trip off right and hoping to play well against them. On another note, we need to stick with the Bulls. I am with them all the way. The Heat are a tough team because all those stars decided to get together, but hey, believe in yourself and bring it back to Chicago. We are all with you guys!

I answered more of your questions …

Q: Ozzie, I’ve been a White Sox fan for a very long time. I admire that your team participates in a lot of charitable events. I was wondering, how do you pick the charities you support? — Debra D. (Aurora, Ill.)

A: I personally like dealing with kids because they usually are innocent, but my wife and I just like helping anyone in need who appreciates it.

Q: Ozzie, you rock! Out of curiosity, what was your overall feeling of feedback (positive or negative) from current or former players throughout the league after you made the statement asking that the “steroid list” be released for the sake of baseball? — Marc V. (Fort Collins, Col.)

A: I’m a big believer that feedback is always good either way. It can’t hurt.

Q: So, since we all know your English isn’t the best (haha), do you write your own blogs or does someone write ’em up for you?  Go Sox!! –Brittany S. (Streamwood, Ill.)

A: Brittany, I write my own blogs, but before they go up on the website, let’s just say people correct my English a bit. But this is all me!

Q: Ozzie, no question here, just wanted to say that I think baseball (and the world, quite frankly) needs more people like you — open, honest, passionate and real; no BS. I follow you on Twitter and always look forward to what you have to say. Keep on being you! Yankee fans love Ozzie Guillen … FACT! — David S. (Bronx, N.Y.)

A: Thank you, David, and I love New York, too.

Q: Ozzie, what is your best baseball moment as a player and manager? — Matt Z. (Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.)

A: As a player, it would have to be Game 6 when I was playing for the Atlanta Braves in the 1999 NLCS. I tied the game against Armanda Benitez and we won in extra innings. As a manager, it’s gotta be getting that ring in ’05, although I was just as proud of the ’08 team because they battled so hard.

Q: What is your favorite “Macho Man” memory? — Jason S. (St. Paul Park, Minn.)

A: Anytime he came out with Miss Elizabeth (haha); just kidding.  I remember when I took my kids to see Hulk Hogan vs. Macho Man at the Rosemont Horizon way back, and they put on a great show and my kids loved it.

Q: Hey, Ozzie, why don’t you trade John Danks for a good starter? — Angel V. (Bell, Ill.)

A: Well, Danks is a good starter, for one, and I am the manager, not the general manager.

Q: How about starting Brent Lillibridge as leadoff man and playing outfield? He always gives his all. — Angel R. (Chicago)

A: Hope you have been watching, Angel; Brent has been in there.

— Ozzie 

Ozzie Guillen Baseball Camps

Hey, everyone.

If you haven’t heard by now, I’m very excited about my upcoming kids baseball camps that will be taking place during the All-Star break. The camps will stress baseball fundamentals such as hitting, throwing, fielding and, most importantly, FUN.

There is no better way I can think of spending the All-Star Break than working with kids. I finally have a chance to share my passion and energy for the game with people who have as much energy as I do! There will be 4 separate camps taking place, and you can find more info right here.

I hope to see you all out there!

— Ozzie

I gotta say, it wasn’t a bad West Coast trip at all

Well, we all know how that West Coast trip went. It’s kind of weird because, as you guys know, we usually really have a tough time out there.  We will take three series wins on a road trip anytime. I had the great experience of spending our off-day last week in Napa Valley at the Kunde Family Estate with my wife. We had a very awesome time with some great wine and met some great people.

The good feelings continued during the weekend in Oakland. Gavin Floyd did not have his best stuff a couple of days ago, but we won the series and that’s what matters the most. Again, Omar Vizquel continues to do it for us. I’m not sure how he does it, but oh my … God has been great to him and I’m happy for him. We also got some very good pitching from Phil Humber and Mark Buehrle, and our bullpen was very good the entire trip; Jesse Crain, Matt Thornton, Sergio Santos have all been awesome for really the entire month of May so far.

I’m really looking forward to being back home in Chicago and playing against a good man in Ron Washington and the American League-champion Texas Rangers. This series won’t be easy, but hopefully we will continue to compete and play like we have on the road. I remember seeing the Rangers in the World Series last year when I helped FOX on the broadcasts, and that team has a lot of personality. I really like the characters that they have on that team, and it’s probably a lot of the reason they were so good.

So I hope to see you out at the park this week and let’s hope this weather keeps getting better and better. Oh yeah, and of course … Go Bulls!! I’m watching very closely!

— Ozzie

Looks like we finally have some momentum now

I have always said it’s better to be lucky than good (hahaha). Wow, that game Wednesday night in Anahiem was a lot of fun, and those are the types of games you need to win to pick up some momentum. It was the perfect game to win before enjoying an off-day in San Francisco! For those of you who may not have stayed up in Chicago to watch the whole game, we did leave a bunch of runners on base early, but we kept plugging away. Alex Rios has been red-hot as of late and “Q” (Carlos Quentin) has been swinging the bat great. And, man, it seems like I talk about this guy in every blog I write, but Omar Vizquel did a hell of a job for us again.

Now, we also swung the bats real well the first game in Anaheim, especially the guys at the bottom of the order. I really think baseball is more of a mental game than it is a physical one because confidence can be a scary thing in this game. Actually, not having confidence might actually be even scarier. I mean, look at the Cleveland Indians right now. They think they can beat anyone right now, and believe me that’s a very good feeling to have.

And, finally, Jake Peavy made his return to the mound. He looked better than I expected him to look, and as long as he doesn’t feel any discomfort, I think he will be just fine. We can only hope.

We are here in San Francisco enjoying our last off-day in like three weeks or something like that. Well, some of the guys were in San Fran. I spent the off-day up in Napa Valley with my wife enjoying wine country (haha). The West coast trip has been a positive one so far, but we have to close it out. I know the A’s are a good team and their pitching staff is tough, but we will see what happens; this is baseball. We can’t change anything; we need to stay positive and continue to play hard! — Ozzie 

Seattle was good to us; now, to L.A.

Feels good to win a series, doesn’t it? It’s always a good feeling to go out and play your game and win. Overall, I think we started to play a little better baseball over the weekend in Seattle. We started to swing the bats a little bit, and that is great to see.

I think Seattle is just an awesome city. I’m a big fan of the stadium, and I absolutely love the seafood that city has. On the field, we got King Felix for a couple of runs on Friday, which was exciting, even though it wasn’t enough to get the win. What I like most about the way we have been playing is the pitching. It has been very good, and combine that with timely hitting, and you are going to win some games. Timely hitting is the key. It’s something we haven’t done a whole lot of lately, but the guys never gave up, and it was nice to win a close game yesterday for a change.

Now it’s on to Anaheim. Am I dreaming, or do we miss both Dan Haren and Jered Weaver? I’m not completely sure that’s the case, but either way, we have to continue to battle and play well. The Angels are always prepared, and those little guys they have, like Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis, always kill the White Sox, so we need to control those guys.

Last time we saw Bobby Abreu, my wife cooked for him, and then they came out and kicked our butts. I promise you my wife won’t be cooking anything for him this time around. So, no meals for Abreu, but hopefully we can go out there in awesome Southern California and try to win this series!

— Ozzie 

Q&A: On Brazilian baseball, dealing with criticism

Hey, everyone. … I had a chance to check out some of the questions you guys have submitted through the website and some of the comments you guys are making, and I can’t help but feel like some of you should be managing some kind of team or something. Some of you seem very smart and almost all of you seem to have the answer to why we aren’t playing the best baseball right now (haha). I like staying in touch with the fans; that’s why I like reading and answering your questions, writing this blog and letting everyone know what’s going on. One thing I can tell you for sure is that we don’t win or lose games because I write this blog. Every day, we go to the ballpark and battle; just right now things aren’t going our way. Nobody likes to lose — it’s not fun. But we need to stay positive and leave the past in the past and look to tomorrow.

Now, on to your questions …

Q: Ozzie, I have met you many times at the legendary Townsend in Detroit. You are absolutely one of the finest people I have met. Who influenced you to be such a great person whenever you run into idiots like me? You’re the best! Good health, my friend! — Buzz K. (Boston)

A: Well, I meet crazy fans all the time! Fans have the right to express their frustration, but I have learned how to handle it over the years. Imagine people coming to your job every day and telling you how terrible you are. It’s not always easy, but I have been in this game almost 30 years and have an idea how to tune it out.

Q: Ozzie, you are the best manager in the league. Is there any chance we would ever see you become manager of the Cubs? They desperately need a manager like you on the North Side. You are the best, and the Cubs need the best managing them. — Mark B. (Sherman Oaks, Calif.)

A: At this point, I would be surprised if anyone wants me (haha) — just kidding. The Cubs already have a good manager in Mike Quade. I’m just trying to keep our guys hungry and give them some energy.

Q: I just wanted to say thanks for being such a great coach. Don’t ever change. Keep telling ’em how you feel. Go Sox. — Max V. (Aurora, Ill.)

A: That’s what I plan on doing, thank you!

Q: Why do you think more managers don’t speak their mind the way you do? Don’t you think baseball people should be more honest? — Toby L. (Burlington, Vt.)

A: I think everyone is different, and some people might be scared to lose their job; I don’t know. I say what I feel. Always have and always will.

Q: Ozzie, greetings from Brazil. Got a weird question — when will we have the first Brazilian ballplayer? Big hug. — Marco S. (Rio de Janeiro) 

A: Well, yeah, I would like that, but Brazilians are busy playing football. But when the next Pele of baseball comes out of Brazil, send him to Chicago.

Q: First, I wish you all the success in the upcoming season. I’m a young coach just learning how to lead. How do you cope with all the criticism from fans and players’ egos? Fans seem to follow your every move in search of mistakes. — Carlos M. (Venezuela)

A: People — and when I say people, I mean critics and fans — are always going to second-guess what you do. The further you sit from home plate, the more you think you know about the game. Just stay focused and honest with yourself.

Q: Ozzie, if one of the players is playing while not feeling right, or playing hurt, and they don’t tell you or one of your coaches about it, how do you deal with that player withholding info that could be a detriment to themselves and the team? How do you trust what they tell you in the future? — Dawn B. (Chicago)

A: Well, that’s hard because I always tell the guys if you are hurt, you’re not helping me or the team. Don’t be a tough guy, because in the end injuries will catch up with you and hurt us even more than they would have in the first place.

Today is a travel day for us, as we head out west for a long, tough road trip. We will get to Seattle tonight and be ready to go tomorrow!

— Ozzie